Even if you’re just starting to consider senior living, it’s not too early to start planning for future possibilities.
Start by collecting legal and medication information. “Have a copy of everything your loved one has. Start a file of all their documents such as medical insurance card(s), driver’s license, social security card, and so on,” Colleen recommended. Keep these in a separate file for easy access when your loved one moves into senior living.
Then, consider talking to an attorney who specializes in elder law. They can help draw up the necessary paperwork. Before creating new paperwork, it's important to know if your loved one already has someone in place because anything new that’s drawn up will override that. For example, if your loved one already has a durable POA but that person is not able to help with the current situation, then a new POA may need to be drawn up.
WHEN IT’S TIME TO MOVE
While senior living communities differ on the details, the overall process of moving in will be similar. The process usually looks something like this:
- Any community that is an assisted living or residential care community is legally required to assess the individual before moving in. This assessment is required to be in person unless the prospective senior doesn’t live locally, in which case it can be done over the phone or via video conference.
- During the assessment process, the community will need a consent form for the release of medical records. That form will need to be signed by the senior themselves or a family member that has POA.
- To reserve an apartment, there will be a rental agreement to sign. This will also require the signature of the senior or their POA. Often this is a month-to-month contract, similar to renting an apartment. Just be sure you fully understand the agreement before you or your loved one signs it.
It is very important to have the proper consent and/or a legal representative among the family, so you know who can sign the rental agreement and who can make medical decisions once your loved one moves in.
With the right representation in place, you can avoid having to deal with legal matters if a medical emergency occurs. Then, the family can focus on the immediate needs of their loved one and make the move to senior living as smooth as possible.